In the Greek myth, when Pandora opens a gift-box that Zeus had given to her, all manner of evils are released into the world. And, yet, one faerie creature, a tiny, beautiful young woman, bearing a bouquet of flowers, called Elpis, remained in the box and would not fly away. Elpis means ‘hope’ and she refused to leave the woman who had brought curses on the world.
In our show there is a theme for our heroine, Maggs, of finding hope. She hasn’t released curses. But, there is something in her that seems cursed, despite all her feisty and fun-loving bravura. Certainly, she experiences the Durning Road Bombing as a cursed time, until she finds hope for herself.
In Liverpool, this message has an intense resonance. Our two cathedrals stand at either end of Hope Street. The great spiritual leadership of Bishop David Shepherd and Archbishop Derek Warlock, in the 1980s, did a great deal to break down some of the dividing walls between Protestants and Catholics. They developed a centre of learning, now called Liverpool Hope University.
And there was, through the Liverpool Blitz, in an earlier generation, a spirit of hope shining, like a candle in the darkness of wartime, which illuminated Liverpool and its people for the entire nation. Some of the events of the night of 28th November, 1940 – which have been historically recorded – do indicate the truth within the myth that hope never leaves, no matter how much evil is released on the earth.